Why Arizona Heat Makes Windshield Cracks Expand

Many of us have been there. You get a small chip or crack in your windshield and leave it alone, figuring it won’t get any bigger. Unfortunately, this isn’t often the case. In many situations, this crack or chip will gradually grow larger, causing you to need a full windshield replacement in the future, rather than requiring a small repair now. This can leave you wondering exactly why the heat of the Arizona summer causes this result. Read on to learn the answer.

Why the Spread?

It may seem unusual for a cracked windshield to spread. After all, most people associate this problem with colder climates because water gets into the cracks and expands when it freezes, thus widening and lengthening the crack. However, the heat can actually  have a similar effect on your windshield. In fact, a combination of the heat outside and the cold from the air conditioner inside the car can be a problem. When your windshield is exposed to direct sunlight, it heats up dramatically. We’ve all seen videos of how quickly the inside of a car heats up. Hot glass is already more susceptible to damage. If you have a habit of getting into your vehicle and blasting the air conditioning immediately, you are at a much higher risk of expanding the crack in your windshield due to the fast, dramatic change in temperature. This rapid temperature change causes additional stress on the glass, which will only serve to worsen the problem. While you can suffer through the heat and wait to turn on your air conditioner or slowly turn it up, there’s no need. You can often get the chip or crack fixed easily without the need for a full replacement.

Protecting Your Windshield

If you do have a crack or chip in your windshield, the good news is there are steps you can take to help prevent even further damage until you can have an auto glass specialist take a look and either recommend a replacement or complete the repair. While you can’t decrease the temperature outdoors, you can park your vehicle in the shade as often as possible. This will help keep the glass from getting as hot as it would in direct sunlight and thus slow down the possibility of further damage. An enclosed garage is your best option, if possible. While not a long-term solution, gradually increasing your air conditioning when you do drive in the car can help protect your windshield until you can get the appropriate repairs. This allows the glass to adjust to the temperature change more slowly.

It’s important to handle windshield repairs as quickly as possible to prevent even further damage that may require a more expensive windshield replacement instead. This can be a difficult task when temperatures are high, especially during the summer months when the sun beats down on your car on a regular basis. The good news is there are things you can do to help mitigate the damage and ensure it doesn’t get worse before you can make an appointment with an auto glass specialist.

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